Sea Of Friendship 2011

Turkish and Egyptian navies will take part in exercise called   Bahr El-Muhabbe (Sea of Friendship) between 17 and 23 December 2011. The exercise will be hosted by Turkey and will be executed in Eastern Mediterranean.

According to the press release of Turkish Navy, the aim of the exercise is to develop mutual cooperation and interoperability between two navies.

Turkey will participate with two frigates, two fast attack craft, one tug, two patrol boats and one special forces team. Additionally airplanes from Turkish Navy and Air Force will take part in the exercise too. Egypt will submit two frigates,  two fast attack craft, one replenishment tanker, one helicopter and one special forces team.

The location and the timing of this exercise are well worth of noting. And further more my inner voice tells me that at least one ex- Perry class frigate from both navies will take part in this exercise.  And on board of Turkish G class frigate the Turkish officers will show off their modern CIC and the GENESIS modernization to their Egyptian counterparts.

TCG Gediz Disrupts A Pirate Mother Ship and Skiff

F-495 TCG Gediz during a naval parade in Dardanelles in March 2011.

One of the two frigates Turkey has sent to Gulf Of Aden for anti piracy operations, F-495 TCG Gediz disrupted a pirate mother ship and a skiff according to Combined Maritime Forces.  TCG Gediz has received the GENESİS combat suit modernization  and she is the first frigate of this class to receive the  MK-41 VLS upgrade. Here is the details of her actions:

The task force received a report of an attack on the merchant vessel MV JEANNE as it transited international waters off the coast of the Somalia/Kenya border. CTF 151 Commander, Rear Admiral Kaleem Shaukat, Pakistan Navy tasked GEDIZ, patrolling in the area, to search for the skiff that had participated in the attack.

GEDIZ located a suspected mother ship for the pirate action group operating in this area, a group which included the skiff responsible for the earlier attack on MV JEANNE, Nov 21.  This vessel was also suspected of involvement in two other recent attacks in this operating area.  GEDIZ’s boarding team conducted a search of the vessel, and destroyed all equipment associated with piracy, including multiple grappling hooks and a boarding ladder.

GEDIZ identified the suspected pirate skiff and witnessed the crew toss multiple items overboard, including grappling hooks and what appeared to be weapons.  When GEDIZ was in close enough proximity for a more thorough examination of the skiff, they assessed that it presented no further threat and that all materiel involved in possible acts of piracy had been discarded. Upon completion of these successful operations, Rear Admiral Shaukat stated:

“These most recent disruptions have once again shown the high capability and professionalism of TCG GEDIZ and the Turkish Navy.  I commend the captain and crew on a job well done in pursuing suspected pirates and disrupting their ability to conduct further attacks.”

In accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and in cooperation with non-member forces, CTF 151’s mission is to disrupt piracy and armed robbery at sea and to engage with regional and other partners to build capacity and improve relevant capabilities, in order to protect global maritime commerce and secure freedom of navigation.  CTF 151 is one of three task forces operating under the US-led Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a 25-nation coalition.  CTF 151’s counter-piracy operations focus on the Gulf of Aden, Southern Red Sea, Arabian Sea and Somali Basin, an area encompassing 2.5 million square miles.

It is a pity that the pirates were not detained but when they throw their tool-of-trade over the board there is not much left to do.

Turkey Assumes Command Of NATO’s Counter Piracy Task Force

Rear Admiral Tosun (center) with Rear Admiral Mattesi (right). Photo: Turkish Navy

On 7th December 2011, Turkey took the command of the NATO’s Anti Piracy Task Force TF-508 with a ceremony in Djibouti.

Prior to this change of command NATO’s other permanent naval task force SNMG-1 was making up the TF-508. For the next six months the ships of SNMG-2 will be the anti piracy task force. Currently SNMG-2 is under Turkish command. F-491 TCG Giresun is the flag ship of SNMG-2.

One other Turkish frigate F-495 TCG Gediz is in the region as part of US led TF-151 right now.

According to NATO press release:

As the handover was completed, Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun stated “I am extremely proud to take over command of such a task force from my predecessor, Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi. I would like to thank Rear Admiral Mattesi and his distinguished staff for the excellent job they have done over the period of last six months. They can be really proud of having played a considerable part in contributing to the decline in pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden in recent months. We had a smooth operational handover and now we are ready to continue this important task as NATO’s counter piracy Task Force. Powerful and resolute units under my command will continue to fight against piracy with the same enthusiasm in order to safeguard the merchant community on behalf of NATO during the next six-month period. I wish Rear Admiral Mattesi and his staff a safe trip back home and to their loved ones.

I wish all the ships of TF-508 fair seas and following winds. Click here for the composition of TF-508.

SNMG-2 Is Heading To Djibouti

Families and onlookers wave farewell to SNMG2 flagship TCG Giresun as she sails to meet up with ITS Grecale and pass through Suez. Photo: SNMG2

According to NATO, SNMG-2 has passed through the Suez Canal some time between December 2nd and today and the task force consisting of Turkish flagship F-491 TCG Giresun and Italian frigate F-571 ITS Grecale is sailing to Djibouti to join Task Force 508.

 TCG GIRESUN, the new flagship of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 recently rendezvoused in the eastern Mediterranean with Italian frigate ITS GRECALE. 
The Group has now passed through passed the Suez Canal and is sailing to Djibouti to join Task Force 508.

SNMG 2 is a multinational integrated maritime force that forms part of the NATO Response Force and operates under the command of the Allied Maritime Command in Naples. Permanently activated and held at high readiness, it is a mobile and flexible force that allows the Alliance to respond to today’s security challenges.  SNMG2 is currently under the command of Rear Admiral (LH) Sinan Azmi TOSUN, Turkish Navy.

According to Turkish Navy, after the rendezvous in Djibouti the composition of Task Force 508 will be as follows:

Number
Name
Nation
Type
F-491 TCG Giresun (Flagship) Turkey Frigate
F-571 ITS Grecale Italy Frigate
L-16 HDMS Absalon Denmark Frigate
DDG-64 USS Carney USA Destroyer
FFG-45 USS De Wert USA Frigate
A-387 HMS Fort Victoria UK Replenishment Tanker

NATO Announces Flagship Handover In SNMG2 (UPDATED)

According to a short news release published at NATO’s Allied Maritime Command Naples web site, F-491 TCG Giresun replaces F-245 TCG Oruçreis as the flagship of SNMG-2.

Commander Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 has moved to a new flagship. Since 17 June 2011, TCG ORUCREIS has hosted Rear Admiral (LH) Sinan Azmi TOSUN, Turkish Navy, and his staff. After serving as the flagship for five months, TCG ORUCREIS handed over her flagship duties to TCG GIRESUN, another Turkish frigate. TCG ORUCREIS served as Flagship during Mediterranean, Black Sea, Baltic and North Sea deployment periods.

I must say that I am very much disappointed with MC Naples’ public relations efforts. The link to a longer news release that the front page is not working. There are two different web pages showing the SNMG-2 task force, here and here and both are incorrect and out of date. I wonder that those guys are doing recently? Attending bunga bunga parties with Mr. Berlusconi?

UPDATE:

The link to the news release appears to be corrected. So I have added it. But the information about the current composition of SNMG-2 is still incorrect and out of date.

F-495 TCG Gediz Visits Muscat

The Turkish frigates F-495 TCG Gediz is Muscat, Oman for an official visit.  This visit is probably a short rest before the long days of patrolling against piracy and sea robbery will commence.

The frigate is in the region since September 2011 and is in the CTF-151 multinational task force. She escorted the Turkish flagged merchant ship M/V Burak A carrying  8 full equipped ambulances, 1 forklift, 5 jeeps, 6 generators, 500 tents, 5000 blankets and 4.500 tons of food and medical supplies to Mogadishu. This is the second Gulf of Aden deployment of F-495 TCG Gediz.

MUSCAT — Sayyid Said bin Ibrahim al Busaidy, Deputy Governor of Muscat, received here yesterday the Commander of the Turkish Naval Frigate TCG Gediz.
Al Busaidy briefed the guest on the Governorate of Muscat and its role in serving the society. He highlighted the landmarks in the wilayats of the governorate that stand as witnesses of its ancient history and bright present.
The guest admired the landmarks in this prosperous era. He valued the pioneering role being pursued by the government under the leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos in pushing forward the wheel of development in the country and cementing co-operation relations with other countries.
Issues of common concern were also discussed during the meeting. — ONA

H/T: Dave Shirlaw.

SNMG-2 Gets A New Flagship

F-245 TCG Oruçreis, in Istanbul, in June 2011.

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) gets a new flagship in December.

According to Turkish Navy, the current Flagship F-245 TCG Oruçreis will be relieved by the frigate F-491 TCG Giresun. Since June 2011 Turkish Navy is in command of SNMG-2 and MEKO 200 Track II class, TCG Oruçreis is the flagship.

The reason behind this change is the SNMG-2’s up comming Operation Ocean Shield rotation. NATO maintained one of its two Standing NATO Maritime Group in the Gulf Of Aden after the North Atlantic Council (NAC) approved the counter-piracy mission in 2009. Currently NATO’s other maritime group SNMG-1 is in the region. SNMG-2 will replace them for next 6 months.

Although Turkey operates 8 Perry (locally known as Gabya) and 8 MEKO 200 frigates, Turkish Navy always deploys a Perry class frigate for the anti piracy missions in the Gulf Of Aden. There has never been an official announcement why this particular type of frigate is favored by my educated guess is that the Gabya class frigates have a longer range and are more fuel efficient compared to the MEKO 200 class frigates.

This will be the second Somalia mission for TCG Giresun in 2011 and the third one overall. The frigate was off Somalia between 26 January and 15 June 2011.

A Submarine Spotted

Type 209

On 28 November 2011, one Turkish Type 209 / 1400 class submarine sailed through Bosphorus to Black Sea. Since Turkish Navy stooped painting the pennant number of the submarines on their hulls, it is impossible to identify each individual submarine anymore. While this new painting scheme helps the submarines to blend and prevents IR/FLIR/LLTV using trackers or electro-optic directors any high contrast target, it makes ship spotting difficult.

With 6 Type 209/1200 and 8 Type 209/1400 class submarines in service, Turkey has the largest conventional submarine fleet in the NATO.

Turkish Navy Tested An ESSM Missile

I don’t know where, or when but apparently Turkish Navy fired an ESSM missile from a MK-41 VLS launcher on a Gabya (Perry) class frigate.

The photos above are taken from the footage of The Turkish Radio and Television Corporation. The national public broadcaster of Turkey made a TV program about the Turkish digital combat management system named GENESIS (Gemi Entegre Savaş İdare Sistemi). Click here to watch the show.

Although the name of the frigate that fires the ESSM was never mentioned during the show, I assume it must be F-495 TCG Gediz, the first Gabya (Perry) class frigate to receive the Mk-41 VLS.

Photos from 238th Anniversary Celebrations Of Turkish Naval Academy

Turkish Naval Academy was founded in 18 November 1773. To celebrate the 238th anniversary of this occasion a small armada of Turkish warships visited Heybeliada were today the Turkish Naval High School still educates the futures cadres of Turkish Navy. Among the visitors were the first of Milgem class, TCG Heybeliada, the first of New Type Patrol Boat class, TCG Tuzla, the second ship of Aydın Class mine hunters, TCG Amasra, one unidentified Type 209 submarine and various Coast Guard vessels. Enjoy the photos

F-511 TCG Heybeliada

F-511 TCG Heybeliada

P-1200 TCG Tuzla

M-266 TCG Amasra

Type 209 / 1400 class submarine

SG-12

SG-94

SG-312

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